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Most business success stories we read puts a spotlight on the origin story of the founders and their creation. But as engaging as the plot may be, there’s one side of the story that doesn’t get told too often: business documents.
What are Business Documents?
It’s the general term used to refer to paperwork used during the course of a business’ lifetime. Here’s a quick overview of the 5 most important types of business documents.
Financial Documents – Used mainly for preparing budget proposals and filing tax returns. Typically prepared by the company’s accounting department.
Business Reports – These documents are created for the purpose of presenting information about a specific area of the business. For example: revenue reports, feasibility studies, market feedback, shareholder updates, and others.
Transactional Documents – Think invoices, order forms, and other documentation that serves as a means to acknowledge, confirm, initiate, and provide proof of a given transaction.
Business Letters – Used by a company to communicate with external parties. Examples: Another company, press, etc.,
Memos & Emails – Used for internal communication.
Part 1: Legal Requirements to Start a Business in the Philippines
Below are several legal documents that are required when starting a business in the Philippines.
DTI Registration for Sole Proprietorship
If you will be the only owner of the business, you have to register it as a sole proprietorship.
Under this type of ownership, the owner’s personal assets and liabilities are considered as an extension of the business.
It’s not protected from claims of outside parties since it’s not a separate entity. Sole proprietorships have to be registered with the DTI.
SEC Registration for Partnership
A type of ownership wherein there are two or more persons that share the capital and resources to build the business.
Any revenue generated will be split according to the agreement set amongst partners. Partnership-types of businesses have to be registered with the SEC.
SEC Registration for Corporations
As we’ve previously explained here, a Corporation is considered a separate entity from the owners of the business. It gives them limited liability in the event of a loss.
While it’s more costly to set up, this is one of the main reasons why corporations are established over Sole proprietorships. Corporations are required to be registered with the SEC.
Mayor’s or Business Permit
To properly establish the legitimacy of your business in a given area, you have to acquire a Mayor’s permit.
The following are the paperwork you need to submit in order to secure a Mayor’s permit:
- DTI or SEC Registration
- Contract of Lease
- Location/Zoning Clearance
- Building/Occupancy Permit
- Fire Safety Insurance
- Barangay Clearance
- Public Liability Insurance
Note: Requirements may vary depending on the area or municipality where you’ll be setting shop so make sure to check with its City Hall for instructions.
Prior to operation, every new business needs to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue so the government can officially list the business in their book of accounts.
This needs to be done on the Revenue District Office where the business is registered.
They will provide the business’ TIN and BIR-approved documents likes official receipts and invoices, after all official fees and required paperwork have been submitted.
A business that will employ any services or manpower to operate is required to register with the Social Security System.
An employer number will be assigned which is what the SSS will use in remitting employee contributions.
Similar to SSS, PhilHealth registration is also a requirement when establishing a business.
A PhilHealth Employer number will be assigned to the business which is what will be used to properly remit the employee deductions through the employer.
The Home Development Mutual Fund, or Pag-IBIG, is a government-owned fund that provides different types of housing loan options to its members.
When you set up a business, this is a mandatory registration.
Part 2: General Operating Documents
Here are the documents often needed when running and managing a business in the Philippines.
It’s a piece of document stating the company’s goals and how it’s going to achieve them. It’s essentially the company’s road map.
Business Plan Samples, Format & Templates:
Recommended Reading: How to Write a Business Plan [Complete Guide]
It’s documentation containing a company’s intent to acquire the business or services of another.
It’s an offer made by a company to another to urge the latter to “choose” them to make business with.
Business Proposal Samples, Format & Templates:
- Free business proposal template
- 100+ free business proposal samples
- Business Proposal format and outline
Recommended Reading: How to Write a Business Proposal [with Templates]
Articles of Incorporation
A legal document stating and acknowledging the legitimacy of a corporation’s establishment.
It also contains details about the company including its name, address, stock options, and nature of business.
Articles of Incorporation Samples, Format & Templates:
- Articles of Incorporation Samples
- Free Articles of Incorporation Template
- Articles of Incorporation Format
Like a school’s list of rules and regulations, Bylaws are sets of laws set by the company internally for the purposes of regulation.
Bylaws Samples, Format & Templates:
Operating Agreement or Founders’ Agreement
This legal document outlines a company’s operational and financial strategy.
This also serves as an agreement to clearly identify the relationship among company founders and designate a communication protocol that will address conflicts should they arise in the future.
Operating and/or Founders’ Agreement Samples, Format & Templates:
Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
It’s a legal document that binds the involved parties to an agreement not to share or disseminate confidential information.
Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Samples, Format & Templates:
Employee Contracts and Offer Letters
These are documents that identify the rights, roles, and responsibilities that each employee needs to carry out.
It may also list out privileges and perks of employees along with the limits.
Employment Contract & Offer Letter Samples, Format & Templates:
- Employment Contract Template
- Temporary Employment Contract Template
- Formal Job Offer Letter Format, and Template
- Job Offer Letter Samples
A document that identifies and states the roles, rights, and responsibilities of a company’s shareholders. It also details how the business is going to be operated.
Shareholder Agreement Samples, Format & Templates:
Annual Report and Financial Report
Annual reports show the company’s performance for the previous operating year.
A financial report details all related expenses coming in or going of the company. Both include statistical data as well as projections for the upcoming year.
Annual Financial Report Samples, Format & Templates:
Business Bank Account, Business Credit Card, & Clear Separation of Business and Personal Assets
Prior to making the business fully operational, it’s best to establish documentation clearly defining the boundaries between personal and business assets of the owners.
By establishing dedicated bank accounts and credit cards for the sole use of the business, conflicts of interest will be avoided and both the business and owners will remain protected by the corporate legal structure.
This document outlines the strategy and sets clear operational steps on how data collected from customers (including prospects) will be managed.
This piece of document states an advisor’s limits in terms of their reach in giving the company/business their advice.
It serves as protection from being obligated by unneeded advice.
Advisor Agreement Samples, Format & Templates:
When a business hires consultants (personnel outside of the office), it needs to set clear guidelines detailing the limits of what the consultants can or can’t do.
This way, a clear distinction between them and regular employees will be set, serving as a deterrent for consultants who may act like or take advantage of perks reserved for regular employees.
Consulting Agreement Samples, Format & Templates:
- Consulting Agreement/Contract Format and Template
- The Optimal Consulting Agreement/Contract Template
Ownership of Assets
To avoid cases of dissolution, it’s imperative that a clear distinction is made between what the company categorizes as assets and business elements.
Any equipment, for example, should be purchased through the company and not assigned to any specific individual even if the gesture was made voluntarily.
Ownership of Assets Samples, Format & Templates:
- Ownership and Transfer of Assets Samples
- Asset Purchase Agreement Template
- 9 Transfer Agreement Samples and Templates
Intellectual Property (IP) / Technology / Invention – Assignment Agreement
Simply put, these are documents that assign specific values to the business or its founders.
For example, any technology or invention developed by or within the company should have a standard form or procedure that assigns its IP rights.
Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement Samples, Format & Templates:
- Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement Template
- Technology Assignment Agreement Template
- Confidentiality and Invention Assignment Agreement Template
Related Guide: 15 Business Contracts used in the Philippines
Certificate of Employment (COE)
This document certifies the date of employment, date of employment termination, as well as the types of work that are expected to be performed by workers that have been employed by a company.
Usually, a Certificate of Employment is requested as a supporting document by employees when applying for services or utilities as proof that they are able to pay the dues of such financial obligations because they are employed.
Certificate of Employment Format & Templates:
- Certificate of Employment Template
- 40 Best Certificate of Employment Samples (Free)
- Certificate of Employment Template
- Simple Certificate of Employment Template
- Certificate of Employment with Compensation Template
Part 3: Business Letters
What is a Business Letter?
A business letter can be defined as a company’s main means of communicating with external parties (e.g clients, vendors, customers, etc). There are no hard rules in terms of what the letter should contain however there are guidelines on how it should be created.
Types of Business Letters
The purpose of this letter is to generate sales. It usually includes pitches on a product or service’s benefits along with call-to-action signals for the reader.
The goals is to convert the recipient into customers.
This is sent by clients, customers and other companies (B2B) who wish to purchase or avail of the services being offered by a business.
Meant to request for information and/or solicit response from the recipient.
The sender’s contact information should be clearly indicated so the receiving party can easily respond.
Sent to parties who initially received a prior correspondence (email or letter) but haven’t yet responded after a given time frame.
This is to serve as a reminder that you are still waiting for their response.
Correspondence that expresses grievances, dissatisfaction, and negative feedback about a given issue.
While the topics may be sensitive in nature, proper etiquette and a professional tone is a must in responding to or sending these.
This is what you call the response sent to a letter of complaint or claim.
Companies usually have strict protocol when sending this as to make sure they are responding in an appropriate and businesslike manner.
Used when someone is applying for a new job.
The recommendation letter contains feedback from the applicant’s previous employer with the goal of helping them land the job.
It details the person’s strengths and achievements and how the previous employer sees their value.
Simple and short correspondence that gets sent to confirm that the original or first letter has been received.
These are letters that contain descriptions of the main document, package, or product that came along with it.
In job applications, these are sent along with the Curriculum Vitae.
This is sent to the manager or HR to express intent to leave the company.
This contains details of the employee’s last working day at the current company.
Congratulatory or Appreciation Letters
Sent to parties or person who achieved milestones or achievements in their respective fields.
This serves to commemorate and acknowledge them on their success.
Business letter that aims to invite one or more persons to a specific event: gala, fundraising dinners, conventions, exhibitions, etc.
Letters of Credit
These are sent by parties usually involved in financial areas of the business.
The goal is to notify clients, customers, or partner businesses about late payments and give them a heads up of collection notices (as needed).
Used for announcing information to the company’s shareholders.
It contains reports, stats, financial gains or losses, and any organizational changes that have or will happen in the company.
Letters of Condolence or Sympathy
Letters that express support and sympathy to parties who went through a loss or tragedy.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is a document stating one party’s intention to do something (e.g apply for work, initiate a request, conduct business) in connection to another person or company, etc.
How to Write Business Letters
Now that you know the different types of business letters, you can start drafting its contents depending on the type you want to make. Now, it’s time to show you the framework and guidelines to structure a business letter the right way.
Formats for Business Letters
Block Format – The text as a whole is left justified. One line of empty space should be provided in between sections.
Semi-Block Format – Similar to the block format but each beginning paragraph is indented.
Modified Block Format – Tabs are utilized to start the text at the page’s horizontal center point. It has the option to follow a semi-block or block format in terms of indention.
Structure of a Business Letter
Here’s the standard structure used in business letters.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
August 7, 2018
<Recipient’s Contact Information>
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
<Body of Letter>
The goal is to deliver the message in the most direct and clear way possible. Provide the reason for your writing and include any important details. Don’t forget to thank the reader for their time and include a call-to-action (if applicable).
Some tips when writing business letters:
- Always check for typos and errors after composing the letter
- Use a business-casual tone. Never use slang or get too casual
- Use an appropriate font
- Don’t make the letter too long
- Use single space
- Aim for simplicity and focus